BFC Partners Inks Deal With Madison Marquette as Advisors to Empire Outlets


Developer BFC Partners, which is constructing New York City’s first outlet mall Empire Outlets in Staten Island, has finalized a partnership with real estate investment and management firm Madison Marquette to be advisors to the project.

As part of the agreement, the Washington D.C.-based Madison Marquette, which oversees a massive 23 million-square-foot retail portfolio across the United States, will consult BFC Partners on leasing, tenant coordination, management and marketing efforts for the nearly 1-million-square-foot project.

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“It’s no secret, historically, we have been residential developers. We have constructed over 8,000 [residential] units in the tri-state area, and undertaking Empire Outlets, we wanted to make sure we get it right,” Joseph Ferrara, a principal at BFC Partners, told CO. “When you are coordinating a 100 different tenants, it’s not the same thing as finishing 100 different apartments, because the needs vary dramatically from tenant to tenant and [Madison Marquette] are experts at it.”

The terms of the partnership for the $344 million-development project was not disclosed.

Mr. Ferrara said the partnership was completed after he met with executives from Madison Marquette during the International Council of Shopping Centers’ RECon event in Las Vegas Monday. He said a conversation with Amer Hammour, the chairman of Madison Marquette, reinforced his belief that Madison Marquette was the right company to partner with.  

“Our mental strategies kind of aligned,” Mr. Ferrara said. “They manage and they are developing several development sites across the country that are tourist attractions and they understand how to attract and keep millennials. He’s a very smart guy. He is really passionate about what he does, and that was the deciding factor for us.”

Mr. Ferrara said he is hoping Madison Marquette will become the property manager for the project after it has been completed.

“Our selection by BFC reflects our growing appeal to major companies in gateway markets across the country,” Thomas Gilmore, a senior managing director at Madison Marquette, said in a prepared statement.

The 340,000-square-foot outlet mall section of the project is 60 percent leased already, with retailers such as  Nordstrom Rack, H&M, Banana Republic Factory Store, Gap Outlet and diamond and jewelry exchange Jewelers on Fifth. The average asking rent for space at the mall is $125 per square foot, as CO previously reported.  

Nike recently signed a 17,000-square-foot ground-floor lease at the North Shore waterfront project across from the St. George Ferry Terminal. And designer Dennis Basso is opening his first outlet store at the mall, after completing a recent 2,138-square-foot lease.

The entire project includes a 190-room hotel, a 1,250-space parking garage, and a 40,000-square-foot food hall. There will be 40 or 50 dining options at the property, as CO reported, including a Mighty Quinn’s Barbecue.